Our Sisters in Iran. a poem by Olga Stein


Our Sisters in Iran

Why zip when you can zoom, beep when you can boom, rant when roaring is an option? Why bend when you can blare, or tiptoe around, or try to put out rage with quiet words instead of taking action? A moldering edifice needs bringing down. It won’t suffice to frown, or honk instead of howl, when lives are crumbling, and cruelty and lawless might are thrown in people’s faces.

Why turn a cheek? Speak, shout, kick! Don’t simmer, boil! Brawl, don’t bleat. Do everything that hurt and outrage call for. Don’t whimper, be that gust of wind. Knock power off its feet, and force it to rescind its life-denying formulations. Don’t yield. Defy intimidation. Don’t blindly follow dictates or bow to commination uttered by self-appointed surrogates of Argos.

Throw words like sand into your watchers’ eyes. They’re not the eyes that matter. Ergo, it’s better to breathe in, grow large, and call out with a steady voice, than to capitulate or waver. Their condemnation isn’t worth a hoot. Their argument with you is moot, since freedom is sacred, and like breath is due to every man and woman.

Take steady breaths, then take your stand. Don’t teeter or bend, upend instead, and tear the rot up by its roots. Don’t run or rein back your frustration. Take arms against tormentors. What’s more, don’t hide the beauty of your locks. Blazon your worth, then burn each symbol of oppression.

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Olga Stein holds a PhD in English, and is a university and college instructor. She has taught writing, communications, modern and contemporary Canadian and American literature. Her research focuses on the sociology of literary prizes. A manuscript of her book, The Scotiabank Giller Prize: How Canadian is now with Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Stein is working on her next book, tentatively titled, Wordly Fiction: Literary Transnationalism in Canada. Before embarking on a PhD, Stein served as the chief editor of the literary review magazine, Books in Canada, and from 2001 to 2008 managed the amazon.com-Books in Canada First Novel Award (now administered by Walrus magazine). Stein herself contributed some 150 reviews, 60 editorials, and numerous author interviews to Books in Canada (the online version is available at http://www.booksincanada.com). A literary editor and academic, Stein has relationships with writers and scholars from diverse communities across Canada, as well as in the US. Stein is interested in World Literature, and authors who address the concerns that are now central to this literary category: the plight of migrants, exiles, and the displaced, and the ‘unbelonging’ of Indigenous peoples and immigrants. More specifically, Stein is interested in literary dissidents, and the voices of dissent, those who challenge the current political, social, and economic status quo. Stein is the editor of the memoir, Playing Under The Gun: An Athlete’s Tale of Survival in 1970s Chile by Hernán E. Humaña.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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